Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Elijah the prophet is often misunderstood and unappreciated. It is true that he was a humble man from the mountains of Gilead with no official endorsement. But he was a deep and keen thinker on a level far beyond that of the leadership of Israel. As he saw the horrible effects of the national apostasy, he thought of its cosmic consequences. The great controversy between Christ and Satan was involved. The honor of the very name of the true God was in jeopardy. If God could not save Israel, how could the Messiah save the world? This was a portentous crisis.
We need to understand Elijah better. God has promised to send him again "before the great and terrible day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5, 6). Unless we understand correctly, there is danger that we may follow ancient Israel in their national apostasy from the truth of God.
Elijah shares with one other man in the Old Testament a profound understanding of God's character of love (agape). In Exodus 32 we read of Israel worshipping a golden calf within days of their forming the grand Old Covenant at Sinai. God purposed to be done with them, but Moses changed God's mind in his plea: if You can't forgive and save Israel, "blot [my name] out of Your book which You have written" (vs. 32). Rather than see Israel lost, he says, I choose to relinquish my own eternal salvation. In the exercise of such faith, Moses found a link that bound him to the cross of Christ, for that is what Jesus did in His love for us--the "width, and length, and depth, and height of the love (agape) of Christ ... which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:18, 19).
Now, in his love for apostate Israel, Elijah finds a link that binds him in faith to Moses. Could this be the reason why heaven sent Moses and Elijah to visit with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? Only they could encourage Him in His self-sacrifice on His cross, when He died our second death to save us!
We can be sure this kind of love is implicit in whatever message "Elijah" will bring us when he comes back.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 22, 2005.
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